Anyone who has visited Kathmandu would say that it is exciting and exhausting at the same time.
Here is such an experience of a 3-day trip to Kathmandu from Kerala.
The first day of the trip was planned to check in to Swayambhunath, an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley. This Buddhist complex has an iconic Stupa and a variety of temples and shrines. There are two access points to get here either by climbing 300 steps or in a car that drops you right at the temple entrance. If you want to have the experience in its full essence, it is best to walk and climb the stairs, for it is only then one will be able to relish the majestic temple and the views in its full essence.
The next port of call was a historical landmark, Bhaktapur Durbar Square. It is the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom, standing proudly 1400 meters above sea level and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The square has a perfect blend of modern and ancient architecture of wood carvings from the 16th century. The old capital of the Himalayan kingdom is really a treat to visit. The wood and brick work is exquisite. The site had undergone some damage during the 2015 earthquake, but restoration work is carrying on. It has a particularly impressive view of temples dedicated to Hindu goddesses and the one dedicated to Bhabani is beautiful with its own step well manned by two hooded metallic snakes.
The Dattatreya and the Laxmi temples are impressive too. But what is amazing is the living city that exists on and around the square where ordinary people carry on their quotidian existence surrounded by the awesome and magnificent splendours of the past. It is definitely a humbling experience.
The iconic Nyatapola Temple which means Five Storeys Roofed Temple is the next stop in the itinerary. This Pagoda Style temple located in Bhaktapur was erected by Nepali King Bhupatindra Malla.
One can visit the 55 Window Palace and the Bhairavnath Temple. Located in the centre of Bhaktapur Durbar square, the 55 Window palace, or Palace of Fifty-Five Windows, was built by King Bhupatindra Malla.
On the second day of the trip, one can venture out a little away from the city and crowd. A place called Nagarkot. After an exhausting first day visiting multiple temples, to stay away from such crowd will be rather vitalising for anyone. One can have the chance to view one of the most breathtaking sunrise and sunset views from Nagarkot. Some 30 km northeast of Kathmandu, a visit to Nagarkot is, literally, a breath of fresh air. As you climb up from the floor of the Kathmandu valley, the scent of pine forest and the difference in temperature refresh the senses and clear the lungs of the polluted air of the city. Nagarkot offers one of the best panoramic views of the Himalayas anywhere - and certainly in the vicinity of Nepal's capital city.
The trip to Kathmandu is not complete if you haven't visited the Pashupatinath Temple. Take a visit to the temple on the final day of your trip which is a famous and sacred Hindu temple complex that is located on the banks of the Bagmati River, approximately 5 km north-east of Kathmandu in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley. The temple serves as the seat of Nepal’s national deity, Lord pashupathi.
In short, Kathmandu was a perfect blend of the old and the new, vitalising and exhausting. Where else would you get to experience two extremes together.